Originally Posted by Jesse Chisholm
2: merge all the MP3 files into a single MP3 file to give to calibre.
2.5: merge all the MP3 files into a ZIP file to give to calibre.
I didn't choose #2 because it makes for one huge MP3 file, and that was a reason it was broken into chapters in the first place. It seemed a lot of work for no good benefit to glue them back together.
I didn't choose #2.5 because it seemed I didn't need to write a plugin at all if that was the route one was going to take. Calibre is perfectly capable of managing ZIP files, though it doesn't try to get metadata out of them.
As someone who listens to a lot of audiobooks, I thought I'd chip in.
1) Audiobooks need to be split when they get too large because of limitations in the smartphones. I usually split my books when generating audiobooks from a collection of mp3s, into 4-5 hour chunks. Anything larger than that may not work properly. They will play in iTunes but not on the mobile device. (Or, they play - you can see progression - but there is no sound).
2) If you store audiobooks in Calibre, then creating a 'new' combined audiobook purely for library management purposes would seem to be wasteful. (I wasn't sure if this is what you meant Jesse by points 2 and 2.5).
The attached screenshot shows how I currently manage audiobooks in Calibre. I tried both ways as shown in the screenshot, but then settled on the Twilight version - hope that makes sense. I just have to check in iTunes if necessary that the different parts of the audiobook appear as one book - actually an album.
I keep my audiobooks in a separate library from eBooks, partly for purely library management reasons, but also because my eBooks are on DropBox and the audiobooks would take too much space.
If I have a revelation, I will be sure to come back here and share